SNAP urges New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to quickly appoint an AG to conclude the state's Catholic clergy abuse investigation
In September of 2018, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the formation of a criminal task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the Catholic Dioceses of New Jersey. This was in the wake of the scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report, as well as renewed allegations of sexual abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, including the first publicly reported assault on a child. However, there have been few updates on the progress of that investigation.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was sworn in yesterday for his second term. He will be selecting a nominee to take the place of AG Grewal, who resigned in July. We urge Governor Murphy to make this appointment soon so that the new AG can report on the status of the Catholic abuse investigation, including whether or not the probe is an "impediment" to the release of records on former Cardinal McCarrick held by New Jersey Dioceses, and ultimately bring the investigation to a conclusion.
New Jersey SNAP Leader Mark Crawford said, ‘It’s been several years now since Church leaders promised us the truth about McCarrick and his crimes, yet time and again they find new reasons to conceal the truth. If the New Jersey AG was going to pursue criminal charges against McCarrick, that would have happened long ago. There should never be a reason NOT to tell us the truth. We believe blaming the investigation is simply a convenient excuse to prevent fallout for Catholic officials still in positions of authority and to protect the Dioceses of Newark and Metuchen while they face civil lawsuits for McCarrick's crimes. At what point in time does the secrecy and cover-up end?’
Similarly, while there are two ongoing investigations into clergy sexual abuse in DC, we believe that Washington DC Cardinal Wilton Gregory, who promised "I will always tell you the truth," should also release the findings of the internal investigation of McCarrick in his Archdiocese.
The former Cardinal has been accused of sexually abusing minors, and of sexually harassing and coercing seminarians and young priests throughout his Church career. The Bishop of Metuchen from 1982-1986, McCarrick went on to become the Archbishop of Newark from 1987-2000. In 2000, Pope John Paull II named McCarrick Archbishop of Washington D.C. and he was quickly elevated to Cardinal. He led that Archdiocese from 2001 until his retirement in 2006. It is no secret that many high-ranking Catholic officials knew of the grave crimes committed by McCarrick and yet chose to turn a blind eye instead of speaking out.
The importance of these statewide law enforcement investigations to unearthing the Church's abuse cover-ups is tremendous. For each telling of an experience of abuse, another victim is encouraged to speak out. Bringing light to a subject that has been defined by silence, secrecy, personal guilt, and shame, is of huge value. We hope that survivors, witnesses, and whistleblowers will continue to make reports via the hotlines, online reporting forms, and other methods provided to break the silence. Justice and prevention, delayed though they may be, are possible with secular investigations.
CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP DC Leader (703-801-6044, [email protected]), Mark Crawford, SNAP New Jersey Leader ([email protected], 732-632-7687) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)